Yamaha makes nearly everything musical instruments, motorcycles, semiconductors, you name it. The Japanese corporation even built furniture in the early 1900s. But they've never built a sports car until now, that is. Enter the Sports Ride concept, a four-wheeled motorcycle that uses some very interesting technology.
In terms of the automotive realm, Yamaha usually sticks with motors. The company has built motors for multiple makes and models, including the Toyota 2000GT and the Ford Taurus SHO. It also co-developed the V-10 under the hood of the Lexus LFA supercar. Yamaha's dipped its toes in the pool before, but now, it's taking a dive.
Yamaha's Sports Ride concept is everything you'd expect from a motorcycle manufacturer's concept car it's light and positioned as being a fun car you'll want to drive every day. The styling is appropriately out there, carrying shades of the Toyota FT-1 concept in the front end and taking on a supercar's silhouette.
Speaking of supercars, the Sports Ride is built to take advantage of Gordon Murray's iStream manufacturing process -- the same Gordon Murray that designed both Formula 1 cars and the McLaren F1 supercar. iStream is a method of chassis creation that focuses on part reduction and increased use of lightweight materials to build a strong car that isn't packing on the pounds.
Utilizing iStream appears to pay off, because Yamaha claims this car weighs only 770 kilograms (1,653 pounds). It may have similar dimensions to a new Mazda MX-5, but it's approximately 700 pounds lighter. Of course, there's no mention of crashworthiness -- it's a concept, after all, and any production model would likely require some sacrifices.
That said, it's not outside the realm of possibility to one day see the Sports Ride out on public roads. iStream's website claims that its process requires 80 percent less capital investment than a traditional assembly plant. So, if Yamaha wanted to give it a go, it wouldn't be prohibitively expensive to do so.